Sony Pictures is toying around again with the release date of the movie based on Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll. Originally set for a June 2018 release, the live-action version of Barbie suffered a huge setback last March when comedy star Amy Schumer suddenly dropped out of the project due to “scheduling conflicts,” just two months before the film was set to go into production. The film found hope, however, in July, when Les Miserables Oscar winner Anne Hathaway entered into negotiations to take over the title role, a move that Schumer wholeheartedly endorsed.
Barbie was set to become the latest toy franchise-turned-movie in Hollywood, following such brands as Hasbro’s G.I. Joe and Transformers to the big screen. Like the Hasbro films, the Mattel creation was set to become a live-action adventure, about a doll who is expelled from the idyllic “Barbieland” for being imperfect. Now, it appears an imperfect set of circumstances is causing the film to be pushed back from its already rescheduled release date of August 8, 2018.
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According to Deadline, Sony will now release Barbie on May 8, 2020. With Hathaway still attached to play Barbie, six writers – Lindsey Beer, Jenny Bicks, Kim Caramele, Diablo Cody, Bert V. Royal and Hilary Winston – have been involved in the script process to date. At the moment, TV helmer Alethea Jones (TV Land’s American Woman) is still attached to direct.
While Deadline reports that “the script is still be worked on and that those behind the pic want to get this popular Mattel toy franchise right,” such a major delay for film’s release – a few months shy of two years – normally doesn’t bode well for a production. In this instance, however, the delay could also be designed to give Mattel some breathing room to properly develop, manufacture and distribute product tie-ins for Barbie – namely dolls – considering that a lot of money will be at stake for the venerable toy company if the film misses the mark.
If Sony and Mattel should be worrying about anything connected to the delay, it should be with Hathaway leaving the project. With her career rooted in family films like The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted, and later on with Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, she possesses both the star power and wholesome image the film needs in order for Barbie to be a success. The image issue, in fact, is probably why the film entered its creative lull in the first place, since Schumer’s background in raunchy comedy seemed like an odd fit for the project destined for a PG rating, even if it is about an imperfect Barbie.
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